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Asia Cup 2022: India beat Hong Kong by 40 runs, storm into Super Four

With two back-to-back wins, India advance to the Super Four, joining Afghanistan, Group B toppers.

August 31, 2022 / 11:24 PM IST
Superb batting by Suryakumar Yadav and  Virat Kohli gave the Indian team total the much-needed lift. (Image: ANI)

Superb batting by Suryakumar Yadav and Virat Kohli gave the Indian team total the much-needed lift. (Image: ANI)

Suryakumar Yadav gave the Indian team total the much-needed lift by racing to a 26-ball unbeaten 68 with six fours and as many sixes as India reached 192 for two after being put in to bat by Hong Kong in a Group A match of the Asia Cup at the Dubai International Stadium on Wednesday.

The total was too much for Hong Kong’s comfort that they were restricted to 152 for five to leave India victors by 40 runs. With two back-to-back wins, India stormed into the Super Four, joining Afghanistan, Group B toppers. The Pakistan versus Hong Kong match in Sharjah on Friday will determine who the second team from Group A would be to enter the next stage.

Yadav scored runs all around the wicket, his cut over backward point, a glorious hit over covers for a six to reach his sixth T20I fifty, scooping behind the wicket for a couple of more sixes came only naturally to him. Yadav dominated the unseparated third wicket stand of 98 in only 42 deliveries with Virat Kohli, who overcame an early shaky start in which he was dropped on 15 by leg-spinner Mohammad Ghazanfar, to score his second T20I fifty in six matches in this calendar year.

So dominant was Yadav that he contributed to half of India’s total number of sixes. India’s 12 sixes were more than the fours (9). Walking in at the fall of KL Rahul’s wicket at the end of the 13th over, and joining Kohli, who was then on 33, Yadav ensured that India reached a total that was beyond Hong Kong’s reach.

Beginning with two fours swept on either side of square-leg, Yadav looked to hit every ball and succeeded more often than not, a stark contrast to Rahul’s slow innings.

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Yadav and Kohli, who scored an unbeaten 59 in 44 balls, made up for the sluggish start, particularly by vice-captain Rahul, who consumed 39 deliveries for his 36, 16 balls of which were not scored off.

It was captain Rohit Sharma, who looked to keep the scoreboard ticking. Though making only 21 in just 13 deliveries before being foxed by a slower one by right-arm medium-pacer Ayush Shukla and hitting straight to mid-on for a simple catch.

Rahul, who was playing his second T20I in 2022, was very cautious in his approach. He took time to settle down and played the ball on its merit, sometimes giving too much respect to the associate member bowler than they deserved.

Yadav showed how minnows ought to be treated, his three successive sixes off the first three deliveries sent down by right-arm medium-pacer Haroon Arshad raised hopes of six consecutive sixes, though that was not to be. Yadav struck 26 runs off the final over to take India to within eight runs of 200. The pitch, which was totally different from the one provided for the India-Pakistan match on Sunday, should have seen India score at least 220. That would have been a possibility had Rahul not wasted deliveries in the beginning.

Hong Kong batsmen, who fancied themselves to be good chasers and hence decided to bowl first, promised to take down the Indian total. Babar Hayat went after the Indian pacers in the Power Play that he treated Avesh Khan and Arshdeep Singh with disdain as Hong Kong picked up 29 in the last two overs of Power Play, at the end of which Hong Kong were ahead of India (51/2 as against India’s 44/1).

As the field spread out, the quick scoring by Hong Kong drained as at the half-way stage, Hong Kong were 65 for two, scoring only 14 in the next four overs, leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja checking the flow of runs.

And, with Hayat’s dismissal, courtesy a leading edge off Jadeja being caught by Avesh Khan at short third man, for a 35-ball 41 went whatever hopes Hong Kong had of meeting the target.

But the fighting spirit that Hong Kong lower order batsmen displayed was admirable. Also helping their cause was untidy bowling by both Arshdeep Singh and Avesh Khan, who went for 44 and 53 runs in their respective four overs.

Contrary to the expectations that India would give the four players who were left out of the game against Pakistan on Sunday, Rohit Sharma and the think-tank decided to field a strong side and made only one change, resting man of the match against Pakistan, Hardik Pandya, and bringing in Rishabh Pant as the wicketkeeper, restricting Dinesh Karthik’s role to that of only a finisher. Karthik, though, was not required to bat and was manning the outfield.
Guru Krishnan
first published: Aug 31, 2022 11:08 pm
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